Setting Up Your Own Motion Sensitive Security System

As you know, I was robbed this week. But we have pictures of the scumbags question thanks to our motion sensitive camera. A reader by the name of “A.J.” asked how he can set a similar system up. The reality is, it’s not that hard.

The camera setup comes from a company called Axis and the specific camera I am using is this one. It’s a wireless camera and it has a built in distro of Linux that has an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The protocol used to send your e-mail) server, web server and custom Java based software to detect motion and light changes. Basically you can configure the camera via a web page to monitor a specific area and if there’s any motion or light changes in that area, it sends you an e-mail with pictures attached. In my case, it goes to my BlackBerry. You can also route video through the webserver and access it live via a web page. I have a static IP so I set up my router to route port 80 to the internal IP of the camera (which is also static). That means that you can log into camera via the static IP address and see what’s going on live.

In my case, the camera is mounted on the roof and aimed at the door to our condo. I set up the motion sensing software to focus on the door. If the door moves or the light changes, an e-mail get sent. So in our case, it caught the break in as well as 6 of Toronto’s finest entering my place with guns drawn.

Setting it up will take a couple of hours out of your day to have it working correctly, plus you’ll need to test the e-mail capabilities and the video web page using an external Internet account. Plus you’ll need to tweak it so that random light changes (like lights flickering) doesn’t set the camera off every five minutes.

One thing to note is that I have lights on a “old school” timer system so that they flip on when the ambient light gets dark. That’s because the camera doesn’t have night vision of any sort. There are Axis cameras that do support night vision and if that’s an issue for you, Axis likely has the product that fits your needs.

Just to warn you, the camera isn’t cheap. I paid over $400 CDN for it. But Axis are the people you want to go to for IP based video security. If you see a camera at a shopping center or someplace else, chances are it’s an Axis product. Their cameras come highly recommended.

Hopefully I’ve explained how the system works. But if you’ve got questions, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.

5 Responses to “Setting Up Your Own Motion Sensitive Security System”

  1. This might be of interest as well. I set up my Axis-based system with help from this technical blog

    It’s not just about Axis cameras, but there’s a lot of stuff there that should come in handy if you want to build a security system, in particular the how to articles. Helped me anyway…



  2. Axis does make a good quality camera. Many other lower cost manufacturers (like Vivotek) also provide built-in motion detection that will email or FTP snapshots of motion. Their free software also includes motion detection so you can record it to a computer.

    Another option (if you are using an AXIS camera) is to use Milestone software – – they are the industry leader in recording software (although it is not cheap). They do provide a free camera license version of their software that works very well. You can only use it on one camera though.

  3. Hi,

    I just purchased axis 207W and I do like the camera, but i have a hard time configuring the motion detection to send me emails when detection happened. I tried to setup multiple email servers in the smtp (email) setup page and when I test the servers, I Will receive a success, but I never receive the emial. I am using ATT DSL broadband. Do I need to open up some ports on this router?

    • Hello. I didn’t have a problem with e-mails coming from the camera, nor did I have to open any ports. Is the e-mail address you’re sending to an AT&T one?

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